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Upgrading Domains from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Before you begin the Windows NT 4.0 in-place upgrade process, determine the upgrade path that your Active Directory design specifies. The Active Directory design will specify one of two possible in-place upgrade paths:

  • Upgrade to a regional domain in an existing forest.

    Before upgrading a Windows NT 4.0 domain and joining an existing forest as a regional domain, you must first deploy a Windows Server 2003 forest root domain. Complete the planning and design phases of your Active Directory deployment and then complete the process for deploying the forest root domain. After the forest root domain is deployed, complete the in-place domain upgrade process by following the steps outlined in "Upgrade to a Regional Domain in an Existing Forest" later in this chapter. For more information about deploying the Windows Server 2003 forest root domain, see "Deploying the Windows Server 2003 Forest Root Domain" in this book.

    Note

    • If your organization already has a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Active Directory infrastructure in place, complete the in-place upgrade process by upgrading to a regional domain in an existing forest.

    To help illustrate the process for upgrading to a regional domain in an existing forest, sample data for Trey Research, is provided within the context of the tasks that must be performed.

  • Upgrade to a single domain forest.

    To create a new single domain forest, complete the in-place domain upgrade process by following the steps outlined in "Upgrade to a Single Domain Forest" later in this chapter. To help illustrate the process for upgrading to a single domain forest, sample data for a fictitious company, Fabrikam, Inc, is provided within the context of the tasks that must be performed.

For more information about designing an Active Directory logical structure and determining what forest design model best suits your organization, see "Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure" in this book.

Figure 8.9 shows the two paths available for upgrading domains from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and additional tasks that all organizations must perform regardless of which option is specified by the Active Directory design. The additional tasks, including modifying security policies, synchronizing file replication services, recreating trusts, using DNS registration to decrease the workload on the PDC emulator, and upgrading additional domain controllers, are performed after the PDC is upgraded.

Figure 8.9   Upgrading Domains from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory

Upgrading Domains from Windows NT 4.0

After the in-place domain upgrade is complete, you can upgrade additional Windows NT 4.0 domains in-place or restructure the remaining Windows NT 4.0 domains into your Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environment. For more information about restructuring Windows NT 4 domains, see "Restructuring Windows NT 4.0 Domains to an Active Directory Forest" in this book.

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